Ismail Sabri: RM5.5m lost to face mask scams since start of MCO

A vendor sells face masks in Kuala Lumpur April 14, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A vendor sells face masks in Kuala Lumpur April 14, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The police have recorded some 572 cases of fraudulent face mask sales since the start of the movement control order (MCO) on March 18.

Senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that police nationwide have received reports of face mask scams amounting to RM5.5 million in losses.

“The scams were mostly run on Facebook and WhatsApp social media platforms. Selangor alone recorded 122 cases, followed by Johor and Penang with 68 each,” he said during his daily press briefing today,

Out of the total, 81 individuals have so far been arrested and 53 charged in court.

Ismail Sabri cautioned the public to be wary of dubious online offers and to check reviews and company status before making any purchases.

“Nowadays, face masks are in plentiful supply everywhere, including pharmacies. Please avoid these scams online when they seem too cheap,” he said.

Yesterday, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said cases involving fraudulent sales of face masks, hand sanitisers and gloves have been on the rise with 87 face masks scams that mostly involved online sales platforms.

He said most victims dealt with the “sellers” via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and other online sales platforms as well as via chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat.

After payments were made by the victims, the seller disappeared and buyers were no longer able to contact the suspects and their social media connection would be blocked.

All the cases are investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.


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